When to ignore the email experts (including me)

Email has the strongest digital ROI after search ($38 for every $1 spent*) and arguably has been around longer. This means that the humble inbox supports a vast industry of software providers, copywriters, designers and experts. You can get a lot of advice, just from a simple search on the internet. Unfortunately, most of it is wrong. 

The main thing you need to focus on is your audience response (also known as data!). Whilst we can give an educated guess on how well a campaign will do, the reality is that audience behaviour changes all the time. Past performance is no guarantee of future success.

Fortunately, email marketing does offer quick and easy results. However, it’s important to track the trends, rather than get hung up on the success or failure of a single campaign. On a micro level, people’s wants change all the time – even with stunning sales offers and world-class content, you will always lose a small percentage of them as they move house, change jobs, have a baby, switch interests or even die. 

On a macro level, humans as a species are influenced by their culture. We all want to be the good guy, right? That’s why Volkswagen diesel sales plummeted after they were shown to cheat the system and we collectively began to realise how much diesel has added to air pollution. Volkswagen’s marketing was as slick as ever, but the climate had (literally) changed. 

So, where does this leave you with email marketing? For one thing, take risks! It’s very unlikely your list will remember an old gaffe or single mistake a month from now. Life is too noisy for that and (frankly), unless you have a stellar relationship with them, they just won’t give you that level of attention. 

The next thing is to consistently create. There’s no such thing as a lucky writer who steps into the spotlight with their first draft. I take away the “blank page” syndrome with a 6-in-6 content plan (6 blog posts across 6 topics for the next 6 months). This lives on my phone and I have a cast-in-stone date to write the first draft every week – during my kid’s swim lesson. Since we cannot hang around and watch them, thanks to Covid-19, I step away from the poolside and narrate the first draft outside, using Google Voice. It usually takes around 15 minutes and I have something to edit with my coffee, the next day. I do exactly the same for my clients – a structure, research and plan, with a regular meeting where I can capture their “voice” for their email series. It’s incredibly powerful and allows you to be playful without the fear of failure.

Finally, ask your audience what they want. You can do this via a website quiz, a quick-click question as part of your signature or simply asking them to “hit reply” when you send out your next email. Even the complaints are useful feedback and a way of generating ideas. 

Once you have done the groundwork with consistent communication, you can start optimizing your results, from segmentation to split-testing. However, you need that raw content to start with. 

The hardest part of email marketing is the first step. If you need some inspiration or a quick look at your current efforts, please contact me. I offer a free 15-minute “taster” session, where you will come away with quick ideas to implement. 

*https://www.campaignmonitor.com/resources/guides/email-marketing-new-rules/

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